ERIC Number: ED264338
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1984
Reference Count: N/A
Legal Aspects of the Brown Decision.
Carter, Robert L.
In Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in the nation's public schools. This decision has not eliminated racial segregation, but it fundamentally altered the psychological pattern of race relations in the United States. Brown concerned a form of racial discrimination that has virtually vanished from American life: racial segregation enforced by law. Before Brown, 17 States and the District of Columbia mandated segregated public schools, under the "separate but equal" doctrine generated by the Plessy v. Ferguson case in 1896. In 1930, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) began a campaign that would bring into effect the 14th Amendment's constitutional guarantee of equality for Blacks. The campaign began in States making no provision for the graduate or professional training of its Black citizens. In the first of these cases, the Gaines case of 1938, the Supreme Court eventually ruled that State-imposed racial segregation could pass constitutional muster only if equal facilities were in fact available for Blacks. Throughout the 1940s, the Supreme Court ruled on a series of similar NAACP-instigated cases (including Sweatt v. Painter and McLaurin v. Oklahoma Regents), but it was not until the 1950s that the Plessy v. Ferguson "separate but equal" doctrine was directly challenged: the Court had still to be convinced that racial segregation itself had an adverse effect on a Black child's ability to learn. Today, thirty years after the Supreme Court finally decided that racial segregation was unconstitutional, there are more segregated schools than there were then. Considerable specialized gains have been made, but the economic gap between Blacks and Whites remains wide. Although disparities in educational attainment have narrowed, Blacks continue to find a different system of financial rewards based on education, and the Black unemployment rate, since 1960, has been uniformly twice or more the White unemployment rate. Brown failed, in part, because both Blacks and Whites tend to underestimate the depth of racism in this country. (KH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Brown v Board of Education; Plessy v Ferguson